A poem you will probably not hear read over the pulpit this Sunday

if there are any heavens my mother will (all by
herself) have
one. It will not be a pansy heaven nor
a fragile heaen of lilies-of-the-valley but
it will be a heaven of blackred roses

my father will be (deep like a rose
tall like a rose)

standing near my

(swaying over her

with eyes which are really petals and see

nothing with the face of a poet really which
is a flower and not a face with
which whisper
This is my beloved my

(suddenly in sunlight
he will bow,
& the whole garden will bow)

–e.e. cummings (as if you couldn’t tell ;>))

8 comments for “A poem you will probably not hear read over the pulpit this Sunday

  1. cooepr
    May 7, 2004 at 12:04 pm

    That’s beautiful Kristine. Thanks.

  2. May 7, 2004 at 12:10 pm

    Great imagery. thanks

  3. Adam Greenwood
    May 7, 2004 at 12:14 pm

    That was a daymaker.

  4. greenfrog
    May 7, 2004 at 12:50 pm

    reminds me of the magnificat

  5. Kingsley
    May 7, 2004 at 1:26 pm

    This is T.S. Eliot’s “A Dedication to My Wife”: probably you won’t hear it in sacrament meeting.

    To whom I owe the leaping delight
    That quickens my senses in our waking time
    And the rhythm that governs the repose of our sleeping time,
    The breathing in unison

    Of lovers whose bodies smell of each other
    Who think the same thoughts without need of speech
    And babble the same speech without need of meaning.

    No peevish winter wind shall chill
    No sullen tropic sun shall wither
    The roses in the rose-garden which is ours and ours only.

    But this dedication is for others to read:
    These are private words addressed to you in public.

  6. Chuck B
    May 7, 2004 at 4:53 pm

    When by an edict of the sovereign powers
    the Poet enters this indifferent world,
    his mother, spurred to blasphemy by shame,
    clenches her fists and condols God:
    ‘Why not have given me a brood of snakes
    rather than make me rear this laughing-stock?
    I curse the paltry pleasures of the night
    on which my womb conceived my punishment!
    Since I am chosen out of all my sex
    to bring this scandal to my bed and board,
    and since I cannot toss the stunted freak,
    as if he was a love-letter, into fire,
    at least I can transfer Your hate to him,
    the instrument of all Your Godly wickedness,
    and so torment this miserable tree
    that not one of its blighted buds will grow!’
    Choking on her enmity, and blind
    to operations of her eternal plan,
    she readies in a Gehenna of her own
    the torture-chamber of a mother’s crimes.
    Yet under an Angel’s unseen tutelage
    the outcast child, enchanted by the sun,
    will recognize in all he eats and drinks
    golden ambrosia and nectar of gods.
    With wind for playmate and with clouds for nurse,
    he sings the very stations of his cross –
    the Spirit who attends his pilgrimage
    weeps to see him happy as a bird.

    (from Baudelaire, “Flowers of Evil,” which you also will probably not hear read over the pulpit this Sunday.)

  7. Kristine
    May 7, 2004 at 5:02 pm

    Chuck–great stuff, but even the title doesn’t sound as good in English as in French :)

  8. Kristine
    May 7, 2004 at 5:05 pm

    And, yeah, I have heard the cummings once on Mother’s Day (*best* MD talk *ever*!), but I don’t every expect to hear Baudelaire in church!

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